My 2017 Book Reviews
As we get ready to ring in 2018 it is also the time for the barrage of end of year book lists. This year I thought I’d add my hat into the ring. I don’t share these in any order of ranking, and they aren’t even necessarily my favorites because they are just all the books I’ve read this year! Maybe some day I will prioritize my time more efficiently to be able to read a volume of books that allows me to pick favorites, 🙂 but until then I’ll be thankful for the few I have read and all that I learned! I hope they might peak your interest or give you something to think about next time you are searching for your next book to read 🙂
Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin
This was my first book on my new kindle, and I learned to use the highlighting function very quickly and very often. Jen’s passion for women (and men!) to truly know and love to study the Bible was addicting. She gives practical methods of how to study the scriptures with purpose and depth. This book left me with a desire to truly know God’s Word and not shy away from the hard work, but work at it bit by bit.
Messy Beautiful Friendship by Christine Hoover
One of the aspects of being an adult I didn’t count on was the difficulty of making friendships. This book came at a perfect time as church changes and shifting friend dynamics was fresh in my minds (you can read more about that in this post). I never realized how scary the whole process is- but as Christine takes you through this book, you will laugh, shed a tear, and feel like maybe you aren’t alone in these feelings. I loved her use of Bonhoeffer’s work that add to the richness and truth as she dives into the messiness and the beauty of friendship that God has given us.
Help by Unbelief by Barnabas Piper
This book was a fairly faster read that dealt with the subject of doubt as a Christian. Oftentimes, as in the case of Piper, we grow up knowing all the right Christian answers, and can start to feel like any question or any answers we don’t know show a lack of faith. This book helped to show how this is a lie which often pushes us further away from God- and when handled rightly, our questions can bring us closer to God. This book came at a good timing for me as I was working my way through a Bible reading plan and was faced with a lot of uncomfortable histories, tragedies, and difficult questions throughout some of the pages of the Old Testament.
Humble Roots by Hannah Anderson
I loved this book and learned so much from each of its chapters. Hannah did a great job of explaining how the role humility (or lack thereof) applies to many different areas of our lives. Whether it is being too busy, our bodies, or our ability to make decisions, Hannah makes us look at our hearts more closely and long for the better, humble way God calls us to. Her weaving of these truths with gardening makes these messages sweeter and stick longer.
Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren
This was a little out of my usual comfort zone, both because I listened to it entirely on audio, but also because of my unfamiliary with some of the liturgical practices from the author’s Anglican background. I found the audio format great since I was able to finish it a lot faster, though because the book was so good I wished I could highlight notes to go back to! Tish goes through a normal day- waking, brushing teeth, leftovers, losing your keys, and many other every day events and ties them to the beauty of different parts Christian habits. Baptism, confessing, communion, and others are explored in a new way- as you see how these habits apply throughout our ordinary days. This was chosen as Christianity Today’s book of the year, and it was a great read!
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
This book was my final read of 2017, and it was honestly one of the hardest, but so very good. Just Mercy tells the story of its author as he worked as a lawyer for death row inmates with no representation. It mainly follows one particular case of Walter McMillian, an African American man who served six years on death row for a crime he did not commit. I spent most of my reading wiping my eyes and thinking deeply about many issues I’ve conveniently swept to the side because, I’m shamed to admit, they didn’t affect me personally. I was faced to see what once was statistics, as image bearers of God- oftentimes tragically marred by not only their own sin but the painful sin of others. I left this book, not with answers in any legislation, political parties, or specific groups- but I left it thankful for policemen like my brother-in-law who seek to show love and compassion to the hurting in our communities. I left it thankful for our friends who ride the rollercoaster of the foster care system to provide a safe home for the children who need it. I left it thankful for my previous pastor and his wife, who are CASA volunteers and care deeply for the hurting children and families in communities around the globe. I left it with a desire to pray harder and deeper for repentance and reconciliation, and with a desire to find more tangible ways that we can help in our own community.
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